So this is my official beginning for marking my new path on the way to becoming a millionaire. I wonder to myself, once I hit millionaire status…. then what? What do I do next after I’ve “arrived”, “made it”? I think the only logical answer would be to try and make dos millions. Duh. Lol.
So this year, after a month of hardcore marketing, I started my first business: an all girls summer camp. This camp, Camp Butterfly Bella, was my baby. I loved, nurtured and cared for that camp and all of the girls in it, with all my heart. The idea for the camp came years ago, when my own daughter was about 5 years old and I was still in attendance at an all women’s college. I thought, if single gendered education is this great, I should make an all girls summer program. However, being 22, broke, a single parent and in school still living with my dad, I had to come to terms with reality. It was going to happen at that time.
Five years later, I made it happen! And o, how beautiful! The camp’s website, butterflybella.org, totally created by me. The website was the first thing I created! It took me 6 hours to do it and afterwards I felt totally exhausted. I never knew that working on the internet at a computer, sitting in a chair could totally simulate the feeling associated with ‘real work’. It was not an easy task the first time around and at the end of the battle my brain hurt. But I had completed a fully interactive, beautiful website. And I had feedback about the website to prove it, once I post the link on my facebook page, folks started checking it out. I had hits and traffic on google analytics! I was so proud.
Then came step number two, marketing in my community. I ordered signs off the internet after talking to a mentor-friend of mine whose husband suggested it would be a great idea for getting calls. The signs took forever to come and in the meantime I did the worst thing I could do, ordered flyers and business cards from a company run by young unprofessionals. The company, named Sidewalk Promo Store, had been advertising a great deal on flyers and business cards, like $180 for both! So I jumped on it. They were horrible, rude, unprofessional and didn’t deliver in the 48hr period. As a matter of fact, they didn’t deliver AT ALL. I ordered this in March and it is August and I have yet to see the flyers. There was another company where I ordered shirts from Lil Citi in Riverdale, never got my money refunded when they failed to deliver either. O well, early lesson learned.
I did receive my yard signs and that took a while, but it finally came. The next few days I took the kids with me as we jumped out on the side of the road at car stops and put signs at strategic areas in the community. The calls started rolling in immediately.
Next, I finally got flyers and business cards from Miami Flyers, their flyers came out wrong too, but at least I had SOMETHING to pass out. So I did. I passed flyers out everywhere. I went to the events page for Atlanta and looked at different happenings ie: festivals, picnics, parties, events, jams, etc and I took my children and my boyfriend and we passed out flyers like our life depended on it.
I remember the first day I went to my paypal account and I saw $200 for a camp payment. I was beyond ecstatic. I couldn’t believe I had used a concept, created a website, started a business and I had actually earned someone’s business. AMAZING! Now all I had to do was secure a facility. That part was unreal. I couldn’t imagine how it was possible for me to secure payments from parents when they had never seen the location of my program! I believe that the website was just THAT good. They saw the vision of my website and wanted their daughters to be a part of it. The feeling and knowledge that I gained early on was so immense. I had tapped into the theory behind successful business on the internet.
What made my program skyrocket in number was not the flyers, yard signs or t-shirts. What brought in the traffic- the real numbers that I needed was very simple…… word of mouth. I had a parent that brought in about 8 girls from ONE school. Most of my campers brought at least one friend. Sibling groups were automatic enrollment increase so I offered a great sibling discount. But word of mouth was definitely the most powerful tool. That tool can only be achieved by making sure the word gets to the right people. So all of my marketing efforts proved effective in that regard (the parent who brought in the 8 saw a yard sign).
I hired about 7 girls initially, even though I only needed 3. I only recruited from Spelman and Agnes Scott and believed that these women would be best equipped to work in an all girls environment. Before we even started, 3 had dropped out. One didn’t call to say she wouldn’t be able to accept. That particular young lady had made the mistake of requesting me on her facebook page and a month later I saw on her posts that she had accepted a job somewhere else! Too bad though, because when camp was almost over she was fired. It was then that she sent an email asking to volunteer at the camp, smh. The other 2 students let me know upfront, which I appreciated. The one Agnes Scott student that I had left really disappointed me. Not only did she get into a full blown shouting match with me at a field trip, but she left my wallet, parent payments, camp phone and ID on a field trip and then tried to blame it on a 9yr old camper. Yea, she had to go. Lol.
So I ended up with 3. I had one AMAZING counselor. I wish that all of them were like her. She was the biggest blessing in the entire camp. If I had bonuses, she would receive all of them. This counselor was assertive and did her job without me having to tell her what to do every moment. For a new entrepreneur or old entrepreneur, these employees are the best.
So although I had a few hiccups in the camp, I had a really great summer. Some of the hiccups being: the van broke down on the highway after a field trip. Now that was just embarassing. Me having to let my assistant go because she had gotten tooooooo comfortable and wasn’t doing what I needed. Complaints from our neighbors on the property. Me having to send a child home for cursing. 2 parents withdrawing 2 campers because we didn’t stay open late enough (how can they miss that, its on the website?). Counselors not cleaning up after their campers areas or holding the campers accountable.Really, the issues that I dealt with were extremely minimal and didn’t equate to major issues within the camp.
Needless to say, I would give the summer a 96%. We did everything at our camp! Not only did we do arts and crafts, we did yoga, zumba, crochet class, academics, line dancing, step class, cooking and awesome field trips. I mean the summer was really overall… great. I really wish there was a way for me to turn that income into a year round source, but I am just happy have the opportunity to experience what I enjoy in the form of ‘working’. Because clearly, going to Chamberlain’s Chocolate Factory, White Water, World of Coca-Cola, Stone Mountain Park and the Center for Puppetry Arts does NOT feel ANYTHING like work!
The last few weeks of camp however, I had begun to explore another idea that Ive had lodged for a while and I am in pursuit of exploring it. It comes in the form of humansigns.biz an advertising company for business owners. I believe that too will be a lucrative opportunity as long as I can put the same energy into marketing it.
I also have another few ideas in the mix. After a dangerous and life threatening incident happened at my center this week I have decided to close the center. However, I am still on my mission to hit millionaire status. In true rap fashion, I have taken on the motto: Get Rich or Die Trying. Why Not???
So I am on a major mission to find my next successful avenue to get back on the path to money making status. There are so many people out here making millions- hell BILLIONS of dollars tapping into to all kinds of markets. I just want to get on millionaire auto-pilot. I dont JUST want to make money, I want to make the money on auto-pilot in order to achieve the lifestyle I will have. My vision is simple. My desire is straightforward. My goal is to make it happen. Im 27, almost 28 years old and I will only live once.